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Monday, 21 December 2015

UFO'S Being Finished, But Very Slowly

This is the base of a Welsh Dresser, designed by Chris Dukeman, from the September 1993 Nutshell News. I can't remember why I began making this, perhaps it was a test to see if my woodworking skills had improved over the years. I probably made this 8 or so years ago, not long after I retired. What stumped me was pin hinging - I had had very poor results with this. However, I decided enough is enough, I will finish this.

So I managed the pin hinging, and although it isn't perfect - the left door won't open as easily as the right one - I am happy with it. The knobs for the cupboard base are small, hand-carved wooden beads I picked up at a second-hand store, held on with tiny brass sequin pins.

The cupboard will be painted, so to begin the aging process, I stained it, quite irregularly, with my favourite water-based stain, Ipswich Pine.

This will eventually be covered with two shades of medium-blue paint, one straight from the jar and the other tinted to be either lighter or darker than that, I haven't quite decided that yet. And I am not sure if the bead knobs will accept paint, either. Next up, I need to make the top of the base, and then the shelved portion above; this will require heavy machinery, as it will have to be cut from a piece of much larger wood. My Carpenter-in-Chief is rather short of time, these days, working on other projects and we have Christmas company arriving from Germany this evening. Perhaps I can get him to give me a couple of minutes this afternoon....

Once this is finished, I will decide whether to keep it, or put it up for sale. It may make a nice display piece for one of my other projects, or for a yet-to-be-determined future one!

Friday, 18 December 2015

Back At It, In a Very Small Way

That's kind of a double joke, as these pieces are small and also miniature! We've had a bad week as far as weather is concerned, including a 24+ hr. power outage at the height of a severe snow and ice storm. However, we are back to abnormal, i.e., it is foggy and raining, definitely not Atlantic Canadian December weather.

So I decided to finish some of the many UnFinished Objects sitting about in various boxes, etc., and I managed to (almost) get 3 done; I say almost, as I still need to add knobs to the doors on the back of the painted Tudor commode, which will go into the Tudor house. The design on the front of the box is taken from medieval ceiling paintings which appeared when centuries of soot and grime were removed from a very old church (A.D. 1100) in my home town, Maastricht in The Netherlands, a couple of decades ago. The flowers are daisies, poppies, and cornflowers, which grow along all the corn fields (wheat fields for North Americans!) in that part of The Netherlands.

My grandmother, known as Bonma as she grew up in Belgium, used to have a commode on the landing of the house she shared with one of my aunts; only hers had a rug-hooked colourful cushion on the top. Well, she was over 80, and the bathroom was all the way downstairs and at the back of the house!

Also put the handle down on the leather tankard, and gave it a bottom; this will go to join the other leather jacks in the Tudor marketplace. And then there is the angel blowing a horn; I needed to develop the courage to drill into the narrow wood (1/8" or approx. 4 mm). It only took me several years ;o) 

There are many more bits waiting for a final step or two or three. It is so busy this time of year, that I am having to make time to do minis. However, I am hopeful that Santa may bring me the components for a Christmas Market stall - which is why I am finishing  some Christmas-themed minis!

Sunday, 6 December 2015

The Show Went Very Well!

We got there early on Saturday, after mostly setting up Friday evening, so we had lots of time to add things, as we had 3 long tables for display and another for sales. As I ended up being the only one with things to sell, I just needed part of  a table. Marilyn is placing some last-minute deliveries. The little step stool under the table is for children; we put the miniatures, as much as possible, at adult viewing level, so children need a little extra help to be able to see.

Three of our CMHH 2015 projects were on display; this one is by Louise, called "Wine and Word", a book shop that also sells wine and cheese plates. I believe this one is pretty much finished; Louise was unable to come, as she had hurt her back. She built a patio onto her books, complete with flowers and flamingos (her trademark), with a tile floor and an iron railing. I could only photograph it from the front, but at some point I will get a side photo of it to share with you, with a better view into both the shop and the patio area.

This one is Marilyn's; her book vignette is an attic, and represents the book, The Picture of Dorian Gray - the man who never aged, although his portrait did. Marilyn placed an angled mirrored wall to the left of her vignette, so that when you look into the window, you see another whole room, which reflects the right side of the vignette, where the portrait is. It is also pretty much finished, she will add a chimney to cover and protect her lighting wires. This gorgeous window is the one which came with the project; I will have to think of somewhere to use mine. The wonderful bare light bulb in the attic
room really adds to her scene. Her walls are lath and plaster, with the plaster oozing out.

And here is mine, still unfinished; the lighting is provided by a small LED flashlight taped to the ceiling at this point! The books are glued together, but not to the box, and I think I will keep them that way to allow me access to the inside. The window display needs some fine-tuning, and I have to make about a linear meter more of books to fill the shelves inside. A small weathered copper mansard roof over the window is also in my plans. And like Louise's, I'd like to add a base so I can have a sidewalk around the front and door sides of the vignette; I am itching to add a Victorian street light to my scene....

There were some wonderful pieces on display; the artist's studio below was brought by Susan, and represents the studio of Tom Thompson, one of Canada's Group of Seven famous painters. The inside cover of the book tells viewers his story.

At this point the sun had come up, so I had someone stand between me and the windows so I could take a clear photo. We had quite a bit of snow on Thursday, so the reflection of early morning sunlight off the snow was somewhat blinding!

This wonderfully crowded book vignette was also brought by Susan, the sun is slanting across it but things can still be seen. It is amazing how much you can fit into one of these book boxes, and they are so nice to transport to shows, as everything is fixed in place and the whole just closes up like, well, a box!

I hesitated a bit over this photo, as the angle for it taking it wasn't very good, but I just had to include Susan's tree house; two little boys are inside, eating a pizza (one of mine, I think!). Their games are scattered around and one bicycle rests against the foot of the tree. I love this little scene, and just wish the photo had been against an uncluttered background. Perhaps I will get a chance to re-do it some time. It is quite tall, so I had to get some distance to get all of it into the photo.

We had a lovely display, and lots of interest at our table, and I even made a few sales which was rather unexpected as this was mainly a show for model railroaders. We may also have recruited new members for our club, as several people took the information slips we had on the table. Now we will have to see if new people will show up at our next meeting, in January.

Happy Saint Nicholas Day! He left lots of goodies to eat in my wooden shoe this morning....

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Miniature Food

It's been a very busy 3 days, as I have been slowly gluing my book covers together and working on a commission as well as a new market stall. I don't often take commissions any more, but this is for a friend, and I just hope she likes it. She is making her book vignette into a wine and cheese shop, and is much further along than I am. I was asked to provide some of the cheeses.

Along with the various types of cheese, there are some cheese boards and some grapes, apples and pears to serve along with the cheese; the grapes should look nice placed on the grape leaves.

The fishmonger's stall has also gotten some more food items, although they still need to be placed a little more carefully! I usually use a piece of packaging plastic from blister packs to build my shop stock on, as it is so much easier to work on it flat and outside of tiny shelves or table tops. Recently I discovered that tiny glue dots called Zots work quite nicely to hold items invisibly in place. As the packaging plastic remains flexible, it is easy enough to bend it slightly to slide it into place on the table top or shelves.

I made a pile of plaice and five cooked crabs yesterday, and it took me most of the day! Now I have to rearrange the display to make room for these rather large pieces; they are partially covering the cod fillets and rainbow trout.

When I was a small child in The Netherlands, my mother would send me to the fishmonger to buy plaice; it was alive, so you chose it from the tank and the fishmonger would clean it for you to take home, nice and fresh. As I can't really remember the fish being gutted etc. I am assuming he did this out of sight of his customers!

The oysters and kippers are neatly packed into wooden boxes, decorated with seaweeds, while the scallops are in a lovely china bowl with blue and gold trim on it. In the left centre are some squid, and some lemons for colour contrast. All the fish in front of the boxes on the left and the scallops were made for me years ago by my older daughter.

Tomorrow I will need to take a look at my vegetable barrow and fruit stall, to see which items badly need to be redone....